REGION'S LAWMAKERS URGE BACKUS TO REACH DEAL WITH NURSES

Norwich - Nine state lawmakers signed a letter sent on Wednesday to David Whitehead, chief executive officer of The William W. Backus Hospital, urging the hospital to reach a contract with unionized nurses.

"In the past 10 months the nurses have made a good faith effort to secure a contract," the letter said. "... the hospital has stalled at the negotiating table and has been indicted by the federal government for violating labor law."

The hospital should "settle the contract without further delay,'' the lawmakers wrote.

Signers included Senate President Pro Tempore Don Williams, House Speaker Chris Donovan and lawmakers from the region Sen. Edith Prague and state Reps. Elizabeth Ritter, Melissa Riley, Kevin Ryan and Tom Reynolds.

Backus spokesman Shawn Mawhiney said the hospital is continuing "to bargain in good faith for a fair and equitable contract at the bargaining table, and that is where our focus will remain." A bargaining session took place Tuesday and another is scheduled for April 26.

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